"Go to the sign of Marvel's Axe, a dubious inn on the edge of the Thieves Quarter, in the City of Greyhawk, and look to your own wrist. If you perceive a bracelet and dangling dice, watch for the next throw in the war between Law and Chaos and be prepared to follow the compelling geas." -Signal
Sunday, August 19, 2012
I am not sure if it is clear in the picture but this is one of those modules that I bought in the secondary market that are still in the shrink wrap. Since I bought it after I had stopped playing Birthright I have not been able to bring myself to open it. As a result I am not going to bring any level of in depth insight out about this module.
The premise sounds like something that would work well for the setting. I used a similar idea back in the early days of my Dm'ing. I want to say that it was planned out but back then I would start a party going somewhere and then start to improv as needed. It involved Lolth and the Codex of the Infinite Planes. She was using it to seal off the flow of magic to the various planes of the multiverse in retaliation for her plans being thwarted in the GDQ series.
I think this is the last of the Birthright items I will have to talk about for a period of time. I still have some others but they have not been cataloged yet.
From the Back of the Book:
High in the Stonecrown Mountains, a new source of dark magic stirs, wakes, and spreads its wings to shroud the land in shadows. The Warlock of the Stonecrowns, an awnshegh regent who is as evil as he is powerful, is draining other regents' sources of magical power, choking on their ability to cast the most powerful form of magic of all--realm magic!
If that isn't enough, the Warlock threatens to close the only pass connecting the trade-kingdom of Cariele to the rest of Anuire. An army of orogs and ogres is gathering to the Warlock's banner: Are your heroes equal to the challenge of the twisted magic of the Warlock of the Stonecrowns?
This open-ended, "adjustable" BIRTHRIGHT adventure is suitable for use with either mid-level (4-6) or high-level (7-10) player characters. You must have a copy of the AD&D games rules and the BIRTHRIGHT campaign setting to play.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Tribes of the Heartless Waste is a product that I have not given the attention it deserves. I had wanted to give it more attention before I wrote about it but that has not happened and the likelihood of it happening given RL stuff is not likely to happen. I feel like this is not much of a post (I am right about that) but hopefully things will get better soon.
From the back of the book:
The threat of death lurks everywhere
Dmitri lost sight of his quarry in the gathering darkness and stumbled back from the carnage. Minutes ago, he and his comrades had been trudging homeward across the snowfield when, without warning, their guide plunged beneath the snow in a spray of slush and blood. By the time the ice borer attacks subsided, only Dmitri was left, himself beaten and bloodied from trying to save his friends.
The warrior broke into a run, aiming for a small stand of pines. Winter wolves howled a greeting to the night and sniffed the cold air. As Dmitri neared the trees, he could feel the snow beneath his feet softening with each step....
Vosgaard remains one of the truly unconquered, untamed regions of Cerilia. In the frozen landscape of the heartless north, only the hardiest will survive - and few of those will thrive. Would-be rulers face the double threat of Vosgaard's climate and its denizens, each dangerous on its own and deadly in tandem, neither willing to be conquered.
Even those who venture into the wastes only for adventure must step lightly. The snow-choked lands keep an icy grip on their secrets and their victims. Some say that only Belinik and Kriesha can hear the pleas of their faithful above the winter winds, leaving the region truly godforsaken.
This expansion to the Birthright campaign setting includes:
DM's Guidebook - 64 pages of realm and adventure information for Dungeon Masters.
Player's Chronicle - A 32-page booklet of history and domain details crucial to player character hero-kings.
New war cards for Vos, elf, and humanoid units.
A full-color map of Vosgaard.
Friday, July 27, 2012
I have said before that the setting of Al-Qadim is one that I find the most interesting to play in. There is something about the middle eastern setting that simply captures my imagination. The domain of Khourane comes close to the setting in the Birthright system and if used as a stand alone campaign I think I would try to incorporate more of the Al-Qadim flavor into Khourane. That being said Khourane works well on its own without help. This not only has the advantage of an unusual setting but it also adds a fair mix of political intrigue and conflict. This would not be my first choice to play as a straight up Birthright domain but it is fairly high up there. As a domain to adventure in if used a setting it fares even better in the rankings.
From the back of the book:
Khourane stands out among the arid Khinasi lands like a blooming lily in a barren field. It boasts some of the most enviable territory in this corner of the world: mountains, deep jungles, and a stunning coastline.
These enviable features inevitably lead to conflict, however: The lands are coveted by the Serpent, the Magian, and the Minotaur. What's more, the elves still resent the humans who claim control of their hereditary forests.
Combine these problems with fierce trade wars, in a harsh climate, and a missing rule, and the result is trouble. Khourane needs a new regent in a hurry--is your character ready to face its challenges? The new rule of this domain will be challenged by some of the greatest problems-- and could realize some of the finest rewards--in all of Cerilia!
This BIRTHRIGHT domain sourcebook is designed for players who wish to take the role of Emir of Khourane. It may also be used by players seeking to play nobles, servants of the regent, or adventurers from Khourane.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
The way that Talinie is described must be what places seem like before the explode into situations that most people could never have seen coming. Places that seem like everything is fine and then some event that seems like it should not have nearly the effect it did sends out ripple effects that shake a whole area. There are places and events in the real world that have experiences this. Some of these have occurred in the last century and even this one.
Played as the Birthright setting is intended to be played this would be a domain that would not be taken on lightly as a player. As a setting the turmoil that is brewing right beneath the surface is ripe with adventure seeds and roleplaying potential. I think this would be an excellent locale for the characters just below name level to have great impact and set themselves up to start down the road of becoming a ruler themselves...of course if you are playing the game as intended that has already happened but where's the fun in that.
From the back cover:
To the casual observer, the realm of Talinie seems a pastoral place full of hard-working, law- abiding citizens. But those who look beneath the surface - as a regent must - will see what lies beneath the beauty.
From the south, a power-hungry archduke has moved troops into two of Talinie's seven provinces, supposedly as a safeguard against goblin invasion. From the north, greedy guildmasters have encroached upon Talinie's lush forests and have ravaged large areas for the timber and ores they yield.
To keep yourself on the throne known as the Oak Seat, you must control these foreign interests without giving them reason to rise up against you, and at the same time beware of traitors within your own court - it is whispered that the death of your predecessor was not really an accident.
This package includes:
A full-color, eight page foldout cover containing detailed maps of the
domain and other information every Talinien needs.
Facts about the realm's history, geography, economy, and laws.
Descriptions of the major NPCs in Talinie, friend and foe alike.
Secrets and strategy tips to help the new regent manage the realm.
This BIRTHRIGHT domain sourcebook is designed for players who want to take the role of Thane of the realm, playing either a lawful priest or a paladin. Players of nonregent characters who live in or come from Talinie will also find this sourcebook useful."
Monday, July 23, 2012
If you are on the same side as the Theocracy playing in one can be a fun and rewarding experience. If you are not on the same page or in some cases in the same book as the ruling body then things can get a little dicey. Living in the United States I think we are somewhat shielded from the power that religion can have over the government. I will stop at that and ask that we not have any real world commentary as a result of that statement. The church in a fantasy setting can be one of the most powerful thematic elements in story telling if they are played right. More often than not they aren't played to their full potential though. If you want to test your players put them in Medoere and have them not be aligned with the church and run with it.
From the Back of the Book:
Ranging from the Spiderfell in the north to the Straits of Aerele in the south, Medoere was born of faith and the blood of revolution. As regent, you fulfill the duties of Archpriest of the Church of the Celestial Spell, leading the theocracy to greater heights of glory. The domain is yours to command--if you have the courage, the conviction, and the blood of kings in your veins.
This BIRTHRIGHT domain sourcebook is designed for players who want to take the role of Archpriest. It may also be used by players playing vassals to the regent, or adventurers who want to explore the mysteries of the theocracy.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Endier is a realm that I think I would want to try playing if I were going to play Birthright as it was intended to play. It is a realm that should not be where it is and it is only there through the guile of its rulers. I always thought of it as Switzerland if they had an agenda and weren't protected by impenetrable mountains. If playing it as a campaign setting, but not with the Birthright system, once the players found themselves in the realm the game would take on much more role than roll in the playing aspect.
From the back cover:
"Welcome to Endier, one of the smallest domains in Anuire. Carved from the treacherous forest known as the Spiderfell, it is precariously balanced between three of the more powerful realms in the land, playing a delicate game of politics and diplomacy to survive. One misstep could mean its ruin; the fate of the land rests squarely on the shoulders of you, its regent. It is said that with great risks come great rewards. If this is so, then the rewards of ruling Endier must be great indeed.
This package includes:
A full-color, eight-page foldout cover containing detailed maps of the domain and important locations within it.
Facts about the history, geography, and economy of Endier.
A summary of how the government works, and how the regent manages to keep control of it.
Descriptions of the major NPCs in Endier, friend and foe alike.
Rumors to keep the regent on the alert, and royal secrets to help keep enemies at bay.
This BIRTHRIGHT domain sourcebook is designed for players who want to take the role of the Lord of Endier, the thief regent of the realm. It may also be used by players playing nobles, servants of the regent, or adventurers of Endier."
Friday, July 20, 2012
Roesone is a realm that seems to have a perfect mix for those who like to adventure. It is recently carved out of wilderness so it is not overly civilized. It also has a good mix of terrain that would allow for varied wilderness type situation, though it does lack any mountains. It also has access to a seaport meaning that players could take a nautical adventure if they wanted to. The movers and shakers are all, or for the most part all, descended from rough and tumble adventurer types or maybe a little grittier than that even so that is plus. The one drawback in looking at using it is the fact that it says that it is monster light. If I were using it I would just simply ignore that line. This is the domain that I think most fits the standard starting type of location for campaigns.
From the back of the book:
Once a lawless frontier less than a century ago, Roesone is one of the youngest states in all of Anuire. as the ruler of the land, you'll find that Roesone is surrounded by uncertain allies and dangerous enemies. Plots and intrigues creep through the halls of your court and shadowed powers are moving against you. It will take strength, courage and determination to keep your crown on your head - and your head on your shoulders.
This BIRTHRIGHT domain sourcebook is designed for players who want to take the role of Baron Roesone, the warrior regent of the land. It may also be used by players playing nobles, servants of the Baron, or adventurers from Roesone.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
One of the thoughts I have long dabbled with in a campaign is that the races seem to get along all too well for things to be realistic. Nothing in the entire history of humanity has ever set the precedent that elves/dwarves/humans/halflings/gnomes should get along even in a fantasy world. Add in other races that appear even less human in appearance or are animal in nature and we have a powder keg waiting to go off.
This is represented to some extent by the domain of Tuarhievel in the Birthright setting. A once idyllic elven realm that has man introduced into it and in less than 100 years peaceful coexistence has turned into man deciding it is theirs to do with as desired. The result is the near complete defeat of man and then a resulting civil war situation amongst the elves because of their taking sides and then an extended uncomfortable stalemate situation. This sounds like a realistic fantasy world to me.
I have always been more attuned to playing elves than dwarves so this works better for me as a domain to play in. The dynamics of the realm also add a higher level of role playing potential in my mind. There may not be as many dungeon crawls out of this but there could be countless "Diplomacy" style evenings which is what Birthright was designed for anyway.
From the Back of the Book:
Before the humans descended on Cerilia, the continent was virtually untouched, inhabited only by those who understood how to live in harmony with nature. Since the human incursion, however, the natives have been forced to realign themselves with their homelands and their neighbors. No group has felt the effects of these maneuverings as much as the elves, who now engage in a daily struggle to keep a hold on their lands, fight off human interests, and preserve their heritage.
In Tuarhievel, matters have recently gotten worse. Prince Fhileraene has disappeared after being coerced into answering a summons from the Gorgon--but before he went away he transferred his bloodline to his consort, a human female named Savane Mhoried. Many of the elves of Tuarhievel consider this act to have been a betrayal of their heritage, even though the interim regent has promised to pass the bloodline to her yet unborn child as soon as that child comes of age. But in the meantime, the elven nation is in upheaval. The land needs a strong leader to prevent traditional values from clashing with the needs of the nation, lest it be torn apart. Can your character walk the fine line between tradition and necessity to unify Tuarhievel?
This BIRTHRIGHT domain sourcebook is designed for players who wish to take part in the rulership of Tuarhievel, either as regent of as the leader of one of the domain's noble families. This information is invaluable to anyone who might wish to approach Tuarhievel as a political ally or embark on adventures in the area.
Monday, July 16, 2012
I have never been a fan of playing Dwarves. In all my days of roleplaying I am not sure I have ever played one. I most likely did and have simply forgotten about it. I have played a gnome so I have to have played a dwarf, right? As a result this is one of the sourcebooks that I would most likely not have used as a player but as a DM it is nice to have if you want to use the Birthright setting as a stand alone setting.
From the back of the book:
Long before humans invaded Cerilia, the dwarves of the land had carved out a peaceful life for themselves, marred only by the persistent savagery of orog tribes. Since the human incursion, life has changed little for the natives of Baruk-Azhik, sequestered safely beneath the inhospitable mountains known as the Iron Peaks.
Baruk-Azhik is a domain of untold riches; there seems to be no end to the precious metals under the mountains, and surface-dwellers are always eager to trade. But the domain is not without perils. The orogs have grown more numerous and more cunning, and outside help may be needed to defeat them once and for all.
The character who ascends the throne of Baruk-Azhik assumes command of a mighty and loyal nation - but one whose existence hangs in the balance. Only a leader with nerves of steel, hardened determination, and superior command skill can guide the dwarves into a future full of promise and free of war.
This BIRTHRIGHT domain sourcebook is designed for players who wish to take the role of the Overthane of Baruk-Azhik. It may also be used by players playing nobles, vassals of the regent, or adventurers from this domain.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
I have never had the opportunity to use any of the adventures in this book. In looking them over they seem very much tied into the setting more so than many other adventures in other products.This is not a slur on the product as the adventures seem to be all well done and since it is a Birthright product why should they not be tied to the setting. It is just that I am not sure I could suggest picking this up unless you are going to play in the Birthright setting. It would be possible to change the information to adopt it into a unique setting but I feel the return on investment of doing that would be less than pulling from other sources. On an aside on of my top ten favorite monsters is the Ogre Magi and I would own the book simply for having one on the cover if nothing else!
From the Back of the Book:
Far in the future, bards sing tales of kings and conquerors from ages past--but from your present. The Hero-Kings of legend are your player characters from your campaign, who even now shape the course of Cerilian history.
More than simply an adventure collection, this 160-page book enables you, the Dungeon Master, to turn ordinary domain actions into opportunities for heroic exploits. Each of the eleven "legends" set forth here is based on a different random event from the BIRTHRIGHT Rulebook. Don't allow a mere die roll to decide the outcome of a blood challenge, rebellion, intrigue, or magical event--make the PCs forge their own destinies by confronting a madman who is "Blood Hungry," wresting the "Fang of Kriesha" from its evil wielder's grasp, thwarting a rival regent's "Double Dealing," and saving all of Cerilia from "The Gift of Azrai."
These adventures are suitable for PCs of all levels and classes--whether regents, scions, or commoners--and can take place wherever your campaign is set. This book also includes an appendix that offers advice for running different types of BIRTHRIGHT campaigns and creating your adventures fit for a king.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Much of what I said about the Book of Magecraft will be true for the Book of Priestcraft. If you replace the portions about alternate magic system with pantheons of deities then I could have almost used what was written again. I have often dabbled with the idea of removing clerics from the game to see what it would be like or making them a magic user specialty dealing with life magic.
It would not be a stretch to say that the format used to write up the entries for the pantheon in this book should be the format used for any similar products. It lays out the particulars of the individual deity and then provides information on the church and its operation. Next it lays information on clerics of the order and their limitation and benefits and then it repeats this for paladins of the order if there are any. It then also lists information on where temples connected with the deity can be located.
From the back of the book:
Priests are more than mere physicians tending the wounded and healing the sick - they are defenders of the realm, champions of their god, and the politicians of Cerilia. Whether they are ministering aid, performing diplomacy, inspiring the people, or dispersing undead legions of evil, priests command great power and authority. For the power of the Blood comes from the gods, and only their priests can make a king!
The Book of Priestcraft describes the devoted followers of the gods of Cerilia, their philosophies, tactics, and daily duties. It also details new battle and realm spells for priests, and examines the legend of Cerilian religious relics. This book further explores the investiture ceremony - the mysterious transfer of blood power from ruler to heir. And it contains advice to priest regents on diplomacy, ruling domains, waging wars, and beginning crusades. It's everything a priest must know to build an empire in Cerilia - or even to survive.
Come, don the robes of the true kingmakers of Cerilia!
Friday, July 13, 2012
If you intended to play Birthright I think this is an essential book to have. If you want to use the setting as a campaign without using the setting as it was intended this is just as essential to have. If you want to have book that lays out an interesting twist on the core magic system in the AD&D game to use in your game this is a damn nice book to have. If you just want something to mine for ideas connected with spells and magic this is a great book to have. I think I have made the point that for almost anyone this runs anywhere from essential to good.
From the back of the book:
Magic permeates the very air, earth, and sea of Cerilia - yet escapes the mastery of all but a rare few. Those who control the continent's magical energy can call upon forces incomprehensible to the rest of its inhabitants. These powerful figures are Cerilia's wizards: adventurers, advisers, and kings whose spells can affect the destinies of thousands.
This 128-page book contains everything players and Dungeon Masters need to make wizard characters more distinctive, mysterious, feared, and true to the BIRTHRIGHT setting. Inside are details on:
The secrets of sources and ley lines.
Strategies for building and maintaining a magical domain.
Spells unique to Cerilia, including new conventional spells, realm spells, and war magic.
Cerilian magical items and Mount Deismaar artifacts.
The status, philosophy, and role of wizards in each of Cerilia's spellcasting cultures.
The unique magician character class and the study of magic in Cerilia.
Near-mythical creatures said to grant boons to wizards fortunate enough to encounter them.
Warriors, priests, and rogues beware: The wizards of Cerilia have come to power!
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Some may say I am beating a dead horse by saying this but as I have said before the Birthright setting is in my top five of TSR settings and could be as high as two depending on how the mood strikes me when it comes to rating them. This is not a book that I have had a chance to use though. IN reviewing it I am not sure I will ever use it as intended but it is full of material that gets the creative juices flowing. I am sure some parts of it will be used as written and other parts will at some point serve as inspiration for items I will build upon and most likely lay claim to them as my own.
From the back of the book:
Cerilia: Where gods died and kings now rule with divine powers. Where dark powers contaminate flesh and blood, and evil shows its true visage in the abominations that stalk the land. Where monarchs both true and corrupt clash over rulership of the Birthright campaign world!
This book, designed for the Dungeon Master, is a guide to the most dangerous creatures on the face of Cerilia: the awnsheghlien. Sovereign creatures of their own realms, these dark creatures wield their power with iron fists, and many seek to tear more power from weaker leaders. These 128 pages' worth of monstrous dictators and wandering nightmares will strike fear into the hearts of all blooded rulers from the Sea of Storms to the Isle of the Serpent!
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Faeries get a bad rap in my opinion. Even the cover of this book sends the idea that they are all the commercialized version of elves (before Peter Jackson gave us his interpretation of Legolas) that were made popular in cartoons and animated films. The stories of the Fey in cultures where they originated give us a much darker portrayal than the images that have made them popular. They were creatures not to be taken lightly and to deal with only if you had to and most times that would not end well for the even the best intentioned if they were not careful.
Other than the image on the cover I think this book does a fair job of trying to put them in a light more consistent with the legends that they sprang from. The book is a D20 offering so it has much of the overhead that comes with that in the way of prestige classes, feats and the like. If you are a 3.x player then these are at least average for offerings from that period. The book offers details on the lands of the Fey and background on the races that can be used in any game system as well as other material that taken into systems or settings. I think this is one of the better Bastion Press offerings I have read and am glad to have it in my collection.
Welcome to the Twilit Lands, where all is fey and faeries rule. This d20 guide to Faeries provides answers on the fair folk, the fey races and creatures more ancient than dragons and far more enigmatic than their sizes or shapes ever reveal. The secrets held by the fey far outstrip all the other races combined, and this book brings them right to players and Game Masters alike.
This supplement provides new rules and a new understanding of fey monsters as well as many new faeries for your d20 games. Players can learn more skills and spells, plus discover magical artifacts and secrets from the fey. Meet new monsters and fey legends that cross many worlds and cultures, from Old Man Winter to the Lady of the Lake. Best of all, the world of Faerie, a world as close as a dream and as magical as its denizens, comes alive with its legends and lore for the Game Masters and can easily be linked to all d20 worlds.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Books like this take me back to the days when Oriental Adventures and Unearthed Arcana were released for the first edition AD&D. Both of these featured new weapons and armor options that the group I played with were more than willing to milk for every perceived advantage they could. It was in those early days that I learned on of my most valuable DM tricks. That was that if the players can do it so can their adversaries. Nothing like having that same "rule breaking" option used on a player to make them see the folly of the option.
This book is one that I would never have really bought unless I had been able to get is cheap like I did. The material in it is not bad but the weapons selection seems too exotic as it were. I am not sure that there was ever such a varied selection of weapons in any one place, in history, other than a gaming convention in the early 21st century. If you can get it cheap the books is worth having but unless you want your players running around with weapons like Duck Spades and a Cicada Winged Sword while wearing Aeroglass Plate or Subdermal Armor I might limit its use.
From the back of the book:
Weapons of Valor
Weapons make the adventurer, granting a cutting edge against fearsome foe and cunning villains alike. Players and GMs discover new and innovative ways to arm their favorite personages within these pages. With more than 70 new weapon qualities and 100 new weapons, everyone can find something to arm their imaginations.
Armor of Faith
Bardic armor? Spellcaster's spidersilk? No matter the class, new types of armor await discovery. Coupled with more than 70 new armor qualities, armorsmiths the world over prepare to forge a host of new possibilities for the world's greatest heroes.
Monday, July 9, 2012
This is a supplement to a game called Murphy's World. Sometimes you buy a game for the cover, sometimes you buy it based on past experience, sometimes based on the reviews of others and then at times like when I bought Bob, Lord of Evil you buy it for the title and the premise of the game. I bought this knowing that I would never ever play it. I bought it simply to read it and to own it. I am not sure it is possible to be a better person for owning an object, I know for a fact it isn't but I am am a happier person having this in my collection and happier has to count for something doesn't it. I don't want to neglect mentioning the art which is so appropriate for the system it isn't funny...well actually it is. If you want to get an idea on why it is good to own this read the information on the publisher's site using the link below.
Link to more information
From the Back of the Book:
The Dark Lands, ruled by Bob, Lord of Evil, is a silly place where you can play light- hearted adventures with a techno-fantasy-horror theme. This book can be used with any existing system of rules - you're not required to generate a new Character to visit the Land of Bob, as Characters from other worlds can easily be brought to the Dark Lands via a crashed spaceship, magical backfire, or interdimensional teleportation gate. Characters could even suffer an individual or collective bout of unconsciousness and visit Tir Nan Bob in their dreams, er... nightmares!
What's inside? Everything you need to start Adventuring!
Sunday, July 8, 2012
I wish I could tell you that I didn't buy this game based on the cover. I am not sure what it is about the art but the first time I saw the core rulebook I had to have it. This is no less true about this book and also the World of Aldea book as well. There are times that judging a book by it's cover will lead you down the path of ruin. Luckily this was not the case with these books. I have not had a chance to play the system as of yet but it reads like it will be a solid play and the material is presented in an easy to read and yet still striking manner.
From the publisher's website:
Blue Rose Companion A Blue Rose Sourcebook Written by Chris Aylott, Elissa Carey, Joseph Carriker, Steve Kenson, Alejandro Melchor, Aaron Rosenberg, and Rodney Thompson Cover art by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law 120-pages, perfect bound ISBN: 1-932442-36-7 Every great hero needs a companion. The Blue Rose Companion expands upon the game systems and options for the Blue Rose fantasy roleplaying game. The Companion offers more options for creating your heroes, from heroic paths to new feats and arcane abilities. It provides game systems for arcane rituals, places of power, and creating arcane items. It also offers a selection of new arcane items and an expanded bestiary of monsters for your heroes to fight. With the Blue Rose Companion you can take your adventures in the world of Aldea to the next level.
Saturday, July 7, 2012
I have never played this game and am not sure I ever will. I remember picking it up because I had heard it was a setting that was accurate scientifically. The setting is one that I am not sure would find all that enjoyable though.I tend to prefer my science fiction games to be post apocalyptic anymore or tinged with horror. The game has been published at least three times and even has a GURPS treatment. It was originally done by Biohazard Games. I am not sure if this is the same Biohazard Games that has connection with Resident Evil or not though.
From the back of the book:
Welcome to Poseidon
The planet . . .
A waterworld, home to a savage ecology and awash in the mystery of an ancient alien past.
The human race . . .
Desperate and dying on a famine-ravaged Earth, reaches hungrily for the once forgotten colony world and its promise of ultimate survival.
The Long John . . .
Hidden below the ocean floor, a priceless, enigmatic ore that holds the key to human DNA and the promise of human immortality.
The colony . . .
Transformed into a lawless frontier as mining corporations wage brutal war and colonists fight for the survival of their adopted world.
The aborigines . . .
Inscrutable, powerful, and enraged in defense of a primal heritage as ancient and mysterious as the planet's darkest waters.
The game . . .
A compelling journey into humanity's dark future on a distant planet where life is hard and dying is easy. A world where GEO Marshals enforce the peace and wired mercs patrol deep waters in deadly fighter subs. A place where corporate greed and human desperation ravage an alien ecology, threatening to plunge humanity into a war of survival with an ancient legacy.
From the company's site:
The year is 2199 and life on Earth is a hopeless struggle between economic chaos and social decay. Incorporated city states dominate the political landscape and natural resources are virtually exhausted. Civilization has barely survived a seventy-five year dark age known simply as "The Blight". For more than three decades an engineered virus ravaged the world's agricultural crops while social panic reigned and billions died of starvation. The resulting chaos has only recently been stabilized, due primarily to the heroic efforts of the Global Ecology Office. This organization was created by the United Nations in reaction to "The Blight", and is all that still remains of most of Earth's original world governments. Powerful and benign, yet challenged on every front, the G.E.O. struggles to protect human rights and ecological integrity in the face of Incorporate inhumanity and social desperation. The G.E.O. remains the last best hope throughout the solar system, and the newly resettled colonies beyond.
In 2065, long before the outbreak of "The Blight", astronomers discovered an anomalous body beyond the orbit of Pluto. During the following decades a series of probes revealed the anomaly to be a rift in space, an example of the hypothetical, astronomical construct known as a wormhole. Further exploration eventually demonstrated that this phenomena was in fact a usable passage to another region of space. Humanity looked to the stars with collective awe when it was discovered that an Earth-like planet waited beyond the worm hole. A planet covered by blue oceans and teeming with life. A pristine world, unexplored and unravaged. A water world that would eventually become known as Poseidon.
As part of a long term plan to ease the heavy burden on the Earth's vanishing resources, the U.N. member nations began an intensive colony effort, seeding Poseidon with genetically altered, human colonists. The Athena Project did much to aid the Earth's failing economies and social morale. Unfortunately, 'The Blight' struck soon after the colony ships were launched, but before the planned resupply ships could be built. Desperate for resources to fight 'The Blight', and therefore unable to do anything else, the U.N. was forced to abandon the project and the colonists. This was the first in a long series of harsh decisions the U.N. would be forced to make in the years that followed.
In spite of the failure of the resupply effort, and the lack of contact with Earth, the colonists on Poseidon actually survived. As their technology wore out and failed, they learned to rely on pioneer ingenuity and their genetically engineered bodies. Spreading across the planet's surface in small villages and family groups, the colonists adopted a life much like the ancient Polynesians, settling the planet's countless island archipelagos.
One of the many discoveries made by the colonists was that they were not the only sentient life forms on Poseidon. Frustratingly alien in their actions and motivation, these aborigines became a source of fear and mystery for the colonists. Encounters often ended in bloodshed, and superstition grew as evidence of strange empathic abilities was discovered. The true origin and motivations of these beings lies in the ancient history of the planet and is a mystery as dark as the planet's deepest waters.
As the G.E.O. slowly salvaged the future of the human race, it again looked to the stars. In 2164 a small science vessel was built and sent through the worm hole in hopes of initiating a second colonial effort. No one had anticipated the survival of the original colonists, and those on Earth were stunned to discover the colony had not only survived, but had grown from the five thousand original colonists to over eighty thousand souls.
The recontact mission was met with mixed reactions from the original settlers; many were excited and relieved, many were bitter and retreated into uninhabited regions, but the majority were calmly indifferent. Poseidon had become their world, and they had become its natives. Contact was welcome, but essentially unimportant. They had made their peace with the planet and had no intention of giving up the lives they had built.
Traffic between Earth and Poseidon was minimal at first, and consisted mainly of scientific missions and Incorporate research and development teams. At first they had little impact on the natives or the planet, but as Poseidon began to give up its secrets, that quickly changed. The nature of the worm hole and it connection to Poseidon became the source of endless debate. The intelligence of the aborigines became a compelling mystery though all efforts at contact or capture ultimately failed. The planet's biological diversity and ecological intricacy defied understanding. The genetic code of the native life was found to be inexplicably based on DNA, explaining why the colonists had been able to initially survive, and subsequently thrive. And, in the planet's exposed crust, Incorporate geologists found a substance that would eventually motivate a colonial frenzy that not only threatened to change the colonists new way of life, but threatened to plunge humanity into a war of survival with an ancient alien legacy.
Longevity Matrix Ore, or Long John, was first discovered during an Incorporate mineral survey. Though initially a closely guarded secret, word soon leaked about the fantastic potential of the substance. This mineral could be processed to provide biochemical tools of such awesome power that nothing in the realm of genetics remained beyond the control of gene engineers. Nothing. Humanity had discovered the key to immortality!
On Earth, a world still foul with the smell of the dead, humanity exploded into a colonial gold rush the likes of which history has never known. Incorporate greed and human desperation sent millions rushing to Poseidon to stake their claims and to feed a market driven by humanity's primal fear of death.
So, in 2199, Poseidon is a planet of company boom towns and corporate mining facilities, native settlements and orbiting factories. Life is hard, fast, and amphibious. Frontier law prevails as G.E.O. Marshals try to protect native rights and enforce Incorporate regulations. The aborigines remain a mystery, yet are blamed for increasingly frequent acts of sabotage and carnage. Sea floor installations are guarded by squadrons of fighter subs, and corporate takeovers often involve marine assault teams. The natives have grown to hate the Incorporate and fear for their new world as environmental extremists incite ecological warfare in defense of the planet. Always new colonists flood in, hoping for a better life, as ruthless opportunists scavenge what they can. And, lost in the background, scientists preach caution, claiming there is something wrong, something strange going on below the water's surface . . .
Friday, July 6, 2012
This is a book I remember buying and when it was bought. It was at the last or next to last of a small convention that had been around for years. Origins had settled for it's extended and maybe permanent stay in Columbus and that spelled the end for CapCon apparently as it has never returned. This was sold at the auction that year with one or two other pieces of Bloodshadows material. I picked it up thinking it looked interesting and I was always looking for a new game to play. It was at that convention a buddy told me about a new card game he tried and a month or two later a mutual friend introduced me to crack (and by crack I mean Magic the Gathering). Needless to say I never got around to using the Bloodshadows system or this book.
From the back of the book:
BLOODSHADOWS CAMPAIGN PACK
Take a long trip through the Wilderness or a short trip through a gate and you might end up in Albredura. You could do worse, you could do better. Albredura's a city of survivors and cynics, hard magic and cold steel. Trying to turn a profit is tough in a town where breaking even might not even mean survival.
Mean Streets is a campaign supplement for Bloodshadows, the World of Fantasy Noir. It contains details on the isolated city of Albredura as well as gamemastering tips for the Bloodshadows roleplayer.
Also included in Mean Streets is the Bloodshadows Gamemaster Screen, containing many of the necessary charts and tables included in the Bloodshadows Worldbook and Masterbook.
Mean Streets is a Campaign Supplement intended for use with the Bloodshadows game.
A MasterBook Game
Thursday, July 5, 2012
This is one of those books that I really have no idea how it got into my collection. I know it was not a Half Price Books purchase because it has no sticker. It is possible that I just don't remember buying it individually but more than likely it was bundled with some other book that I wanted or bought as part of a huge lot. The sad part is that is all I can say about the book personally. This got bought (not sure how), scanned and boxed. Someone compared it to Fallout online but since it predates the games maybe the comparison should go the other way. For the record I have never played any of the Fallout games either.
In an instant, billions died. Now, sixty years after the nuclear holocaust the last vestiges of mankind crawl around in the radioactive hell that is the United States and Europe. In this desolate, post-apocalyptic world of magic, mutations, and machines, you as prophet must rebuild civilization. Out in the Waste, a bullet is worth two weeks of food, and reading and writing are illegal! Yet the fate of mankind lies in the hands of you and a few others. You cannot fail in your mission to take the Earth back from those who destroyed it.
Blood Dawn revolves around a group of Prophets (the players) who are sent out into the blasted ruins of Earth by the Underground Collective, a secret society devoted to taking the Earth back from those who destroyed it. The Prophets are a rag-tag bunch of misfits, humans, mutants, or worse, who have been selected by the Underground Collective and then "enhanced" to increase their power and survivability. The players must travel The Waste, winning its denizens over to their side, in the fight against those who live in the protected Dome cities, those responsible for the Earth's destruction.
Blood Dawn is a skill based system, utilizing a d20 as its base. Players can choose from six races to play, and equip them with a wide variety of skills and equipment to make each truly unique.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Any product that can provide you with a volume of magical or unique items, personalities associated with them and then plot hooks to get them involved in your campaign is something worth having in my world. Blade's Treasure Vault is just such a product. I have more often than not been impressed with the offerings from Blade/Catalyst and would rate them just short of being on par with most of the earlier Judges Guild offerings. I am not certain if I bought this when it was released but have had it in my collection for some time and have referred back to it for ideas often.
From the Front Cover:
A collection of 26 unusual items with 38 interlocked personalities in 57 suggested scenarios for any role playing game system
From the Back Cover:
A game-master's aid for all role-playing systems
You've trudged through miles of wilderness, crossed the swamp to end all swamps, fought creatures of the night and monsters of madness and you still have a light purse? Then unlock the doors to Treasure Vault!
These unique items, magical and otherwise, provide a fresh lure to exciting adventures for the most jaded character's spirit. The unusual personalities and tantalizing scenarios make this book a genuine treasure trove of ideas for the game master of any role playing system.
Friday, June 29, 2012
The Birthright setting is one that came out when I was in the depth of my card flipper stage (Magic the Gathering) and as a result I did not even know that this existed until long after it was released. I came to my senses for a brief period of time and started picking these items up as I could find them in stores. To complete the tale of woe though in 1999 I fell into the trap that was Everquest and then Warcraft. There was almost a whole decade of role playing time lost.
I have said before that this comes in third, and at times maybe even second, in my favorite retail gaming settings. The first is Greyhawk, then Mystara and then Cerilia. I would not say the the Player's Secrets supplements are as detailed as those for Mystara but then they in turn allow a little more customization by the DM. In the end these can be picked up for a lot less making them a better value in my opinion.
From the Back of the Book:
The benevolent wizard Count Aglondier of Ilien is dead! He has left control of his realm to you, his trusted apprentice. With the considerable power of realm magic behind you, your task is to govern Ilien and defend it from those who wish to conquer your small domain.
This BIRTHRIGHT domain sourcebook is designed for players who want to take the role of the wizard king, or play a guild leader, a lieutenant, or a servant to the king.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
From the front cover
Fast-paced gunslinging action will never bog down in a search for missing tables with the BOOT HILL Referee's Screen handy. Fourteen of the most used tables from the BOOT HILL rulebook are arranged on this durable playing aid. A special 8-page BOOT HILL adventure, Shootout in Northfield and other Famous Gunfights lets players recreate the famous gun battle that destroyed the Jesse James-Cole Younger gang, plus six other famous showdowns.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
I have a few BESM (Big Eyes, Small Mouth) items. I have picked them up cheap when I have picked them up. I am not a fan of the gaming system, subject material or anime in general so I will most likely never use them. I have picked them up merely to mine for material of use in other systems or for adventure ideas. I have heard that The Slayers is fairly good anime but that is all second hand and please don't hold me accountable as again except for Akira (and I am not sure that is anime) and some episodes of Robotech (which I liked) I have a very limited experience with anime.
The Slayers is a 78-episode fantasy anime series that follows the exploits of the beautiful teenage sorceress-supreme, Lina Inverse, and her mighty band of spellcasting, sword-wielding adventurers. This authorized reference guide and gaming supplement features detailed episode summaries, in-depth character profiles, setting and theme analysis, and role-playing character sheets for the popular Big Eyes, Small Mouth role-playing game. With hundreds of full-color images from the series, this book is the definitive English-language resource book for The Slayers. Covers episodes 1-26.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
This is one of the technical readouts I mentioned yesterday. I really wish I had more to write about it but again I have not played all that much Battletech. For the life of me I thought that this was older than that but there may be some that are older than this. I know I sold off much of the material I owned at one time in an "hour of need" that I for the life of me can't recall what the need was now.
From Back Cover:
More than 250 years ago, Aleksandr Kerensky, Protector-General of the Star League, left known space. With him he took nearly half the Mechwarriors, Battlemechs and support personnel in the Inner Sphere. In the years that followed, the Inner Sphere's Successor States battled for supremacy, waging terrible wars that claimed millions of lives and crippled their technological knowledge and manufacturing capabilities. Now the descendants of Kerensky are returning, armed with superior 'Mechs and driven by one goal - Total domination of the Inner Sphere.
Battletech Technical Readout: 3050 provides illustrations, descriptions and game statistics for all state-of-the-art Inner Sphere Battlemechs and the Omnimechs used by the invading Clans. Technical Readout: 3050 also includes entries on rare Star League-era combat vehicles that have recently begun resurfacing in active duty.
Monday, June 25, 2012
BattleTech is a game that I have played probably less than ten times in my life. I had a friend that was really into it and he insisted I try it. I own an amazing amount of the stuff for not ever having played it all that much. I am a sucker for technical manuals and much of what I own falls into or close to that category. That and I seem to be willing to buy almost anything gaming related.
From the back of the book
The BattleTech Tactical Handbook is an advanced-rules supplement for the BattleTech game universe. The Handbook provides advanced rules and equipment that enable players to add new depth and intensity to their games. Guidelines for creating long-term campaigns and double-blind games, formulas for calculating the combat values of all BattleTech combat units, detailed descriptions of advanced weapon systems and more make the BattleTech Handbook a necessity for the serious BattleTech player.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
I own the original edition of Battlesystems and normally would not have bothered to buy this but I found it really cheap online. I regret to say that I have never had call to use it though so I can't speak to it compared to the original. I am partial to having the rules in a book format as opposed to a box set so that is a plus regardless of the content.
From the back of the book:
This book, a full-scale revision and expansion of the rules in the original Battlesystem Fantasy Combat Supplement, gives you all the information you need to set up and play battles with miniature figures. These rules can be used without the AD&D game books, but you can also convert characters and creatures from an AD&D game campaign and use them in Battlesystem scenarios. Lavishly illustrated in full color, this book is an attractive addition to any game library.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Bastion of Faith is in the same series as Den of Thieves that I have written about previously. The other supplement in the series is College of Wizardry. Of the three this is the one that I felt the least love for. It is still an excellent offering but I just found the other two more interesting but they are all very good source material. Even though it was written under the second edition I think this is something that can be used by fans of previous or later editions of the game.
From the back cover:
"Bastion of Faith presents a complete temple of priests and affiliates (holy warriors, devout rogues, and pious wizards) that can be placed into any campaign or adventure. Bastion of Faith follows the format of the popular Den of Thieves and College of Wizardry sourcebooks. This 96 page book contains:
A complete roster of the priests and affiliates of the temple called the Bastion of Faith, including detailed descriptions for the temples upper hierarchy.
Rules for incorporating nonpriest characters into the temple as affiliates.
Maps of the temple, its public spaces ... and the tainted catacombs beneath it.
New priest spells and new blessed magical items.
Four mini-adventures for priest or nonpriest characters.
The full story behind the Bastion's 'Secret Doctrine' and the consequences for the temple should the truth ever get out."
Friday, May 11, 2012
The Bestiary portion of the Atlantean trilogy is another of the books that I have never sued for the system it was written for but it has been well used. The book serves well as a point of reference for other game systems. I recall that the game system itself was one that I wanted to try but was never able to get a group that was interested in playing it over the system du jour. I know there are better uses for a time machine but I really wish there was some way to have gotten this system used when it was new.
From the back of the book:
"Return to the second age of Atlantis to a time wften the race of men was young, and giants still walked the earth... when ancient dragons lay sleeping beneath the ocean waves, and the woods of Avalon and Stonehenge were alive with the haunting songs of the magical Sidhe. Encounter the strange and wondrous inhabitants of a bygone age in the Bestiary.
• The Alicanto, a fabulous bird that feeds on precious metals
• The Zephyr, beautiful winged folk from the Continent of Mu
• The Hantu, so-called "earth-bound demons" of legend
• The Ahl-at-Rab, reptilian rulers of the desert sands
• The Kraken, fearsome monsters of the deep
• The Zazir, diminutive and industrious creators of nature's wonders
• And many, many more...
With a separate section for fantasy role players, featuring stats for hundreds of monsters and wild animals, lists of encounters, and much more..."
Thursday, May 10, 2012
I wish I had a scan of King's Festival to post before this one but I inventoried it back in the day using a digital camera before I figured out scans would be better and most of those images are fairly bad. These are two modules I have never had the chance to play but I have been told by a number of people that they are both excellent additions to the B module line.
Published : 1989
From the publisher:
"The wizard Kavorquian is dead. But certain items belonging to his adopted son were in the wizard's keeping at the time of his demise. Now someone must venture into the silent vaults of Kavorquian's stronghold and recover the missing property.
Queen's Harvest picks up its story where B11, King's Festival, left off. It can be played as a sequel to that adventure or as a complete adventure in itself. It is tailored for beginning Dungeon masters and players and contains helpful hints on adenturing and the land of Karameikos. The story develops simply, but ultimately leads the player characters into the nether reaches of Penhaligon's politics to confront Ilyana Penhaligon, mad pretender to the throne!"
Monday, April 23, 2012
B10 is a module that I am not sure why it is in the B line and not the X line. I guess the intent is to give players something that they can cross over with. I am just of the opinion that if it is a B module it should really be a module designed for the levels the set was written for.
The module is rare enough that I did not get it when it originally came out and I when I did get around to buying it I paid more for it than I should have had to. The module is not bad from what I can tell it is just something that is priced based on rarity rather than value. I am sure the Australian copy of G1 that sold for a hundred plus dollars a few months ago is just as good as an American monochrome copy of but the prices are a little different.
I would say buy the module if you can get it for a fair price but don't over pay like I did. In the end it is a module that was well worth the cover price but not what one would have to pay for it today.
From the publisher:
"Barely one day's march from Kelven, the uncharted tracts of the Dymrak forest conceal horrors enough to freeze the blood of civilized folk. Those who have ventured there tell how death comes quick to the unwary - for the woods at niht are far worse than any dungeon.
But you are adventurers, veterans of many battles, and the call of the wild is strong. Will you answer the call, or are you afraid of the dark terrors of the night?
This campaign adventure is for characters just beginning Expert play (levels 2-4) and hurls them into the exciting outdoor world which awaits in the Expert rulebook.
With a 64-page booklet, 2 double-panel covers, a double-sided fold-out mapsheet and 120 die-cut counters, this super module provides all you need for epic wilderness and dungeon adventuring. Journey across the Grand Duchy of Karameikos in a desperate race against time and the forces of evil."
Friday, April 13, 2012
I am a big fan of the B line of modules. I have been fairly vocal about that in a recent post and I think my comments on the previous entries have put that forward. There is almost always one that does not live up to the others though. I am here to say that B9 Castle Caldwell and Beyond is the culprit in the B series.
The module is not patently bad and it does serve a purpose though not what it was meant for perhaps. It is merely not up to the level of the previous eight modules. Even B8 (Journey to the Rock) which I have expressed some concerns about runs laps about this baby. There are a number of reasons why this is the weakest offering in the line and then some that can make more useful than others. These reasons are often one and the same.
The module is actually more than a single scenario. It is actually five individual scenarios that are in some cases linked together better than others. The first two of these are tied together fairly well and I would suggest playing them apart from the others. The remaining three can be tied to the first two but the hold is tenuous at best.
One of the most glaring issues for me is the cartography in the module. There are many modules where the maps alone are worth the price of the module. That is a phrase that will never be sued about Castle Caldwell. The maps are so bad that there is a blog out there where the castle map was redrawn so that the author thought it was usable. I can't recall the blog but the map redo was actually really well done. The other issue I have is the actual material. There are DM blocks here and the same phrase is often repeated. Ever wonder how many times you could tell players "There is a sword hanging on a rack on the wall" before they revolted....this module will allow you that opportunity.
The module as a said though does have a role in life other than to be the whipping post of the B series. Judges Guild released a number of products early on that were mini-adventures. This was later perhaps brought to perfection by TSR in the Lairs products. This module if taken as a fledgling attempt at this by TSR is in that situation use and that is how I would suggest it be used.
I would be negligent if I did not make a final note or two on the module, which I do suggest owning, before I close up this post. The first is the cover art. I know there have been negative comments made on this but I like Caldwell art and this is one of the pieces I remember most from all of them. This means i most likely did not date enough in high school but that aside I like the art and it invokes a definite "Creature from the Black Lagoon" feel. The other is the name of the author. I never for the longest time saw Harry Nuckols as "Harry Knuckles" and so never saw that as a detractor. In the end it is funny but not high on the professionalism ladder. For the record the actual author is a Mr. Ron Charulsky according to a post by Frank Metzner.
From the publisher:
"Five exciting short adventures to make your Basic campaign come alive!
The Clearing of Castle Caldwell - A local merchant has recently purchased a small castle...but when he tried to move in, he discovered that the castle was already inhabited!
Dungeons of Terror - A strange trapdoor in the floor of Castle Caldwell leads to a terrifying challenge!
The Abduction of Princess Sylvia - On the eve of her wedding, the beautiful princess has been kidnapped! Can you save her in time?
The Great Escape - Imprisoned in an enemy fortress, without armor or weapons, your situation seems hopeless. yet there may be a way to freedom...
The Sanctuary of Elwyn the Ardent - A mystical chime of great power has been stolen - but by whom? In the wrong hands, the chime can cause untold harm! But can you find and defeat this mysterious and powerful creature?"
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
The Horror on the Hill is a module I have used a few times for starting groups at first level. I prefer some other modules more but this is one that allows for a lot of adventure in one small package. I have often though of locating the Keep from B2 here and mashing the two up losing or changing the Caves of Chaos.
The adventure has some outdoor aspects which can be role played more than some of the encounters provided in the fist three of the B modules. These can be played seriously or with a little bit of whimsy depending on the group you are playing with. Once the players get to the meet of the module there is a sizable dungeon for them to make their way through.
The ecology of any dungeon is a hard thing to allow for. The one here is a little better than some of the others in early modules but it still has some concerns. This module does have a ending that the players will appreciate though. Nothing like living up to ones name sake in my mind.
Overall I think this is a module that it would not hurt one to spend money on. There are much worse ways to spend ones money. I think if I were to ever sue it again I would make it more of a mash up with B2 as I mentioned earlier. I can actually see a situation where I might take B1, B2 and B4 and make them all part of the same starting area though it would take some beefing up of some of the material as the party would be too high by the time the third adventure was used.
The end of the road. A lonely fort stands on the banks of a mighty river. It is here the hardy bands of adventurers gather to plan their conquests of The Hill, the hulking mass that looms over this tiny settlement.
The Hill is filled with monsters, they say, and an evil witch makes her home there. Still, no visitor to The Hill has ever returned to prove the rumors true or false. The thrill of discovery is too great to pass up, and only the river stands in the way. The adventurers' boat is waiting!
This module is designed for use with the D&D Basic Rules. A trip through the wilderness begins a unique challenge for the novice player and Dungeon Master.
Included in the module are:
3 new monsters
a complete set of prerolled characters.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Yesterday I wrote about B2 the #7 module in Dungeons all time list. Today I will write a little bit about #28 which is B4 The Lost City. I will also try to not go off on tangents and slander anyone's reviews or their life's work. I said try so lets see how that works out for me.
The Lost City is written by Tom Moldvay and I think most everyone will recognize the name and as a result what they have contributed to the game. I remember reading a Blog some time ago where the author of the blog was going to sue this as the basis for a sandbox campaign. This module more than any of the other B series would be suited for this purpose though B7 could be used as the foundation for a campaign as well with very little work.
This is a module where actually only a portion of the entire area is written out in any detail. The reminder has suggestions and broad strokes laid out but the specifics are left to the discretion of the DM. The module also featured information on how the DM might get the characters to interact with the NPC and suggestions on how that might work out. All of these make it very well suited as the foundation for a campaign where the DM can place their take on it.
There will be those that will suggest that I am partial to the older material. To argue with that assumption would be sill as I will go on record that in this case older is better. I think technology improves with time but as far as gaming material is concerned once you get into the later 80's and early 90's I think things had gone down hill. If you don't own this module pick it up I will think that those who are disappointed in the investment will be few and far between.
From the cover:
Lost in the desert! The only hope for survival lies in a ruined city rising out of the sands. Food, water, and wealth await heroic adventurers inside an ancient pyramid ruled by a strange race of masked beings.
The module includes a cover folder with maps, and a descriptive booklet with a ready- made adventure for the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Basic game. It also includes enough information to continue the adventure beyond level 3, using the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Expert game rules.
Monday, April 9, 2012
There is not much more that I could add to what has already been said about the #7 ranked module of all time. I am actually more of a fan of B1 In Search of the Unknown more than I am of B2. Please don't get me wrong but I like the good old fashioned dungeon crawl factor of it. That and it has some things that became "standards" in dungeon design. But I digress.
There have been incredibly more pages written about "The Keep" than there are to "The Keep". If you factor out the useful DM material and resources this is further exaggerated. There are innumerable detractors of the module and it does have some issues. The ecology of the area is about as impracticable as it could be without being a zoo. Still that is the way it was some 32 years ago. Anyone who hates on the module really needs to learn to respect what has come before and appreciate the classics that laid the groundwork in a fledgling industry.
It was pointed out the review I mention below may have been meant as comedy. If so I misunderstood. I apologize if that is the case but I still hold true to the other comments about the newer stuff not holding up and the sue of the phrase Pirates of the Coast. Teach me to not look at Tags won't it!
I want to point on in the review here Mike Mearls told us in no uncertain terms how bad it was. I quote him as saying "It really is too late to warn you about this one, isn't it?" and "If you paid for it, you got ripped off". Not railing against 3e or 4e or whatever the next edition whose sole purpose is to bleed money off of people is but pointing out that this module will have more staying power than anything produced by Pirates of the Coast.
The other review on that site is a little more kind but wants to make fun of something Gary Gygax wrote. I have copied that below here but want to point out that James Landy gave much better reviews to a number of Pirates of the Coast and 3e modules that are really pretty bad. But below is what Gary Gygax with all his pretensions (his words) wrote...thank you for inspiring Gary rather than directing:
"You are not entering this world in the usual manner, for you are setting forth to be a Dungeon Master. Certainly there are stout fighters, mighty magic-users, wily thieves, and courageous clerics who will make their mark in the magical lands of D&D adventure. You however, are above even the greatest of these, for as DM you are to become the Shaper of the Cosmos. It is you who will give form and content to the all the universe. You will breathe life into the stillness, giving meaning and purpose to all the actions which are to follow."
I have no qualms saying that this is a module that everyone should own. Not only because it is a worth owning and being run through or running by all at least once in a gamers life but because it is a piece of history. I feel certain that in 2033 there will not be one 3.x module that is considered in such regard as this one. If there is please let me know so I can but it now.
Excerpt from the adventure:
The Realms of mankind is narrow and constricted. Always the forces of Chaos press upon its borders, seeking to enslave its populace, rape its riches, and steal its treasures. If it were not for a stout few, many in the Realm would indeed fall prey to the evil which surrounds them. Yet, there are always certain exceptional and brave members of humanity, as well as similar individuals among its allies - dwarves, elves, and halflings - who rise above the common level and join battle to stave off the darkness which would otherwise overwhelm the land. Bold adventurers from the Realm set off to the Borderlands to seek their fortune. (...)
You are indeed members of that exceptional class, adventurers who have journeyed to the Keep on the Borderlands in search of fame and fortune.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
I know I have mentioned many times that I have material that I am not too familiar with and even that I am not sure how I came to posses it. To date this may be the biggest mystery yet. Most often it is something I bought and never had a chance to use. I am a bit of a hoarder when it comes to RPG materials perhaps.
Most often times I recall buying the item though because I don't buy just to buy 99% percent of the time or better I would say.This book though is a complete mystery to me. I even recall when I scanned it thinking to myself "Where did this come from?" Most often strange buys will be the $1 or $2 Half Price Books variety and I bought it just to see what it had idea wise. This is lacking the price tag I see all too often.
When I buy from eBay most often it is a more directed buy though. I am usually on a kick to try and finish off material in a particular system or on a topic such as magic items. This does not fall into that category that I can recall. My best guess is that a number of years ago I bought a fairly substantial bulk lot of Guido-the-Gypsy on eBay. It showed some older Traveller material and a few other items so I bought it. It had a mixed bag of goods but was a good purchase. I suspect this came in that lot.
As far as "A Distant Echo" by Viking Games. I have nothing to say except what I was able to find on RPG Geek. From what I was able to find out this was the only module offering from Viking Games and the only material specific to their world Axander. They only had one other product from what I could tell and it was a monster manual type offering. If anyone has any insight into this I would love to hear about it.
From the back of the book:
One Sword, One Word, One Way
Twin cities, two nations, vying for regional power have encountered a rise of goblin tribes and raids to their national coffers. After a brutal encounter, player characters are drawn into national intrigue, which must be handled quickly or else the region will fall to the hands of the goblins.
The first question that needs answering is: who is supplying the enemy with its quality weaponry?
On the Wrong Side of Loyalty
Designed as the first in a series of adventures detailing the Axandar world a the brink of chaos and war, this d20 system adventure is for characters of beginning levels. Referees will be able to start new campaigns, or add exciting new dimensions to their current campaigns.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
I have written about Dragon Magazine #54 before. This may very well be one of if not my absolute favorite issue. I wrote previously that I have referred to it innumerable times in the past. One of the reasons is the article on city ruins. I am not sure why the idea of city ruins fascinate me so much. It might be from the first look at the Statue of Liberty covered in sand that sparked it and then it was fueled to its height by the cover of the original Gamma World box and the remains of DC in Logan's Run. I have designed a few ruined cities but have never been fully satisfied with what I designed.
I am afraid that this book though promising did not live up to what I had hoped it would be. Please don't take that as me saying the product is not a good product but it is still not what I want in a ruined fantasy city. I may have to some day take a great fantasy city and destroy it into ruins. If anyone knows of any good products with ruined cities I would love to hear about it.
Ruins of Intrigue is more of a framework that a pen to paper layout of a ruined city. It is a campaign or adventure setting more than an adventure proper. For what it is it is an excellent product and the premise answers one of my dilemmas concerning city ruins. It is hard to have a large city in ruins anywhere near civilization and if it is not near civilization how to get the players close enough without seeming contrived. What better than a city that was hidden in plan sight for centuries.
The book is well done and is missing the watermarked pages that in some cases make newer products hard to read test wise. As I have aged I would like to see a larger font used in some books and this could use a slightly larger one. The book is also a little text heavy and it might benefit from some more images breaking the text up though a larger font could reduce the need for that. The material more than makes up for the concerns over the formatting though. This book may not be for everyone and it is very much campaign specific so using it outside Arcana Evolved might pose a serious level of work but for ideas it is well worth it.
From the back:
"The ruins of Serathis loom high in the mountains. Only recently discovered, this ancient city draws many to its shattered streets in search of treasure and adventure. Giants and dragons square off on opposite sides of the ruins, each seeking to hold the city and its wealth. The winds of war howl in the distance. Vast wealth and terrible monsters await!
Ruins of Intrigue is an innovative approach to adventure creation. It provides a detailed, modular overview of Serathis. Major NPCs and locations have sets of optional secrets and variants, making every campaign different. A rich array of ideas, plots, and vying factions gives you varied ideas for creating adventures. Just pick a hook, choose a goal, select an obstacle, and you're ready to go. Suitable for Arcana Evolved characters of all levels."
Adventure and Intrigue in the World of the Diamond Throne!
The ruins of Serathis loom high in the mountains. Only recently uncovered, this ancient city draws hundreds to its shattered streets in search of treasure and adventure. Giants and dragons square off from opposite sides of the ruins. The winds of war howl in the distance. Vast wealth and terrible monsters await!
Ruins of Intrigue provides the foundation for an entire campaign using the Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved variant player's handbook. It presents Serathis, a ruined city located between territories claimed by the giants and dragons. Both factions seek to hold the city and its treasure, setting the stage for conflict. The book's adventure source material will take your characters to 10th level and beyond.
Ruins of Intrigue also contains new monsters, secret societies, organizations, and other material that reflects the city's ancient secrets. And its modular design allows all player levels and character affiliations to use this campaign-in-one-book.
This comprehensive look at an exciting new realm of adventure gives DMs the chance to start and run a campaign with ease and offers an characters the opportunity to play an important role in the Lands of the Diamond Throne.
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